When almost 2,000 undergraduate seniors participate in Commencement on the National Mall Sunday they will leave behind their years at GW, but many will not be forgotten. The Hatchet spoke with faculty, staff and students to find 10 seniors who have made a lasting impression during their undergraduate years.
When people in her home city of New York ask Christina Rodriguez where she is from, her response is Puerto Rico.
“When people in the Bronx ask where you’re from, they mean your heritage,” explained the 22-year-old, whose grandparents are Puerto Rican.
Rodriguez’s Latino background has always been influential in her life. After becoming involved with the Multicultural Student Center as a freshman, she created the Latino Symposium with classmate Jayson Saunders.
Rodriguez described the symposium, which takes place at a different area-university each year, as a “career-networking event with Latino speakers from different professions.”
As a freshman, Rodriquez felt that there were no career fairs “geared specifically toward the Latino community. This was a way for students to see that there are Latinos who have made it and to be connected to that.”
The Latin American and hemispheric studies major and Spanish minor is fluent in both Spanish and Portuguese. Spanish was her first language and she picked up Portuguese while studying abroad in Bahia, Brazil, last year.
“I’m a huge advocate for studying abroad,” said Rodriguez, who also studied in Madrid as a sophomore. “I think I learned more abroad than on campus, about myself and academically. It’s the best of both worlds.”
That is not to say her time in D.C. was insignificant.
“I’m the first one in my family to graduate from college, and everything that GW has given me is amazing,” Rodriguez said. “Every year has been an accomplishment.”
Rodriguez plans to work with a Latin American nongovernmental organization and is thinking about volunteering in Cuba this summer.
“I like the nonprofit sector,” she said, “because you can have more of a personal relationship with the people you are working with.”